Rafael Nadal has revealed that he’s ‘not at 100%’ ahead of the Australian Open and that he’s not yet ready to play with high intensity.
Nadal is leading Team Spain in the ATP Cup but withdrew from his first match against Australia’s number one player Alex de Minaur due to a ‘stiff low back’.
Teammate Roberto Bautista Agut took his place instead, leaving Pablo Carrena Busta to face Australia’s number two John Millman with both Spaniards winning their matches.
The World number two had initially hinted that he would be ready to play the second singles match against Greek number one Stefanos Tsitsipas, but the ATP has again named Bautista Agut in this fixture instead of Nadal leading to further speculation.
Speaking about the withdrawal and his injury, Nadal said: “I’m not in a terrible shape, but I’m not well enough to play.”
“At the end of one of the practice sessions, I felt it was getting stiff. I have the daily treatment, and I believe things will improve in the next couple of days.
“I think I’m a bit better now, but I’m not yet ready to play a match at the highest intensity because I’m not at my 100%, and we need to see how things evolve day by day.
“Today I’ve rested. Yesterday, I warmed up to see if I could play against Australia, but I didn’t feel ready, letting Pablo entering the team.
“He did it wonderfully, and Bautista Agut too. They’re among the world’s best players, and they go on court with the same motivation as me, trying to play as best as possible and win.
“There is no drama in the team if I don’t play.”
Before the competition started Nadal admitted that he had worries about playing the ATP Cup so close to a Grand Slam.
Speaking to CNN Nadal said: “I am not not used to playing the week before a Grand Slam, but this year is a special year.
“So let’s just see how I manage, how much I will be able to play or not.”
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